Yoga is a gentle, relaxing form of exercise, but you should warm up to loosen up the muscles and joints just like you would before any other form of exercise. Warm-up poses can help prepare your body for a workout, while simultaneously increasing circulation. In addition to promoting better blood flow, these warm-up poses stretch your core, hamstrings, neck, and back.
Stretching and cardio work to increase a person’s heart rate before a game. Yoga warm-up poses mentally prepare you for your yoga class and increase muscle flexibility. The asanas, or movements, work to stretch the connective tissues and aid blood circulation throughout the body. Different yoga poses work to target different muscle groups. That is why performing different poses can improve circulation throughout the body. Inversions draw blood to the brain and relieve some pressure on the heart, while other arching poses (such as wheel or camel poses) aid vital organ circulation. Do the following warm-up poses before your next yoga class and you may improve blood flow and have a better overall yoga practice.
Downward Dog Pose
In this pose, the heart is above your head, allowing more blood to flow to the upper torso and brain. This is a common inversion pose that you’ll revisit throughout your yoga class. Begin in a tabletop position on all fours, stacking your shoulders directly over your hands and hips over your knees. Lift your knees off the ground and extend your butt towards the ceiling. It’s perfectly fine if you need to bend your knees a little, but try to get your heels close to the floor. The main thing to remember is to push away from the mat with your palms, lengthening your back so that it isn’t rounded. Breathe slowly.
This is a very simple pose that works to improve blood circulation to the entire body, especially through the arteries. Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart and make sure that you are looking forward. Drop your shoulders and relax your arms by your sides, facing your palms toward the front of the room. Take a deep breath in as you lift your arms up overhead, aiming to keep your shoulders dropped away from your ears. Breathe deeply in this position for about 30 seconds.
Legs Up The Wall
Widely used in many restorative yoga routines, this pose works to improve circulation to the calves and feet. This pose is great for anyone who sits all day because it moves blood out of the hips. Find a wall and lay a yoga mat on the ground heading away from the wall. You are essentially going to make your into an “L” shape. Start by lying on your back and get your butt as close to the wall as possible. Extend your legs upwards so that your heels are touching the wall and your legs are straight. You can extend your arms out to the sides for added support. Stay in this position for at least two minutes.
This is one of the most common warm-up poses that promotes blood circulation in the spinal column and back muscles. Begin in a tabletop position on all fours, stacking your shoulders directly over your hands and hips over your knees. Breathe in and lift your head up, directing your gaze towards the ceiling, simultaneously arching your lower back. Breathe out while you round your back, drop your head, and tuck your chin into your chest. Use your palms to push the floor away to increase the stretch between your shoulders. Continue alternating between these two positions for 30 seconds.
Working to increase circulation to the legs, glutes and hips, chair pose is great for boosting stamina and strength in the thigh muscles. Stand straight up with your feet hip-distance apart and rest your arms by your sides. Bend your knees and sink your weight back into your heels as you sit as though you are about to sit down in a chair. Make sure to keep your back straight and tuck your tailbone as you tighten your glutes. Lift your arms up overhead so that they are in line with your back. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position.
As a full-body stretch, locust pose helps you strengthen the muscles along the spine. It also works to correct poor posture and gets the blood flowing. Lie flat on your stomach with your forehead on the mat and arms extended back by your sides. Contract all the muscles in your arms, legs, and core to lift your head, chest, and lower legs off the mat. Keep your neck long and continue to breathe slowly for 10 breaths. With each breath, try to lift a little higher. Release and relax.